MARINETTE — The Marinette School District Board of Education was updated on the feedback given by the community on the rightsizing project Monday.

The right-sizing project is a result of a facility study done on the district. It’s focus on figuring out how to reconfigure the district to match the data from that study, including such data as enrollment statistics. This project was imitated by the district, but relies heavily on community involvement.

Dorreen Dembsky of Dembsky Communication Services, LLC, the primary consultant for the project, gave the board an analysis of the community listening sessions that were held this past fall.

“I began working on this particular project in May of 2019 when you (the board) had invited Somerville Engineering to do a facilities study, and two other enrollment studies were being done,” she said, “Through the course of that work, it was validated for the board that you have steady declining enrollment, and all of your facilities other than Sunrise Early Learning Center are under capacity. To your credit, you’re pro-actively looking for solutions to that.”

Dembsky said the district advisory committee that Superintendent Wendy Dzurick formed put forward a three-building option, which would reconfigure the district to have a single elementary, middle and high school; she said this needed a lot of community involvement in the process and led to the face-to-face meetings with members of the community. During these meetings, community members were asked about the possible benefits and concerns with the option, and what the facilities should provide students and the community in general regardless of the final decision.

Dembsky said the staff and community members who took part in the feedback sessions largely agreed that the benefits included the promise of optimal and balanced class sizes, equitable access to opportunities and the financial savings a three-building configuration would offer the district. However, she said one of the common concerns was a worry about the possibility of future enrollment growth in the district.

“Right on the tails of that were, ‘Should we consider other options?’ Other options meaning operating more schools; instead of going to three, maybe go to four,” Dembsky said. Overall, the highest priority for all involved was to ensure quality education in the district.

She said the suggestion to take the decision-making process more slowly and discuss a possible four-building option was taken seriously. Dzurick said the next step is a community survey, which will go back to the advisory committee first with the intent of adding the four-building option as a possibility.

In addition to this, the board passed a resolution supporting comprehensive clean water legislation to be forwarded to appropriate legislation.

“We have two points of contact at the Department of Health; as new items arise and they’re discovering more things about the PFOS and PFAS, they will work with us if there’s anything we should be following forward with,” said Facilities Director Tom Tickler, “At this time they don’t have anything that was of concern that we haven’t addressed or worked forward on to this point already. We’re in touch pretty much every week or two, and we’re trying to make sure we’re up with everything that’s going on.”

The board also appointed Rose O’Hara, the executive director of the Tri-City Area United Way, to fill the vacant position left by Lisa Michiels, who resigned from the board in 2019.